"Let's All Go to Lisdoonvarna"


On Louisburgh strand

County Mayo

Near by Croagh Patrick

(which we never climbed but I say we did and who's to argue?)

We camped beside a brick built flush toilet

Ladies and Gents, clean, plenty of paper

Fresh running water from an outside tap

Five star beach bum luxury.


Weather battered farmers

Wearing weather beaten fedoras

Turned up in weather beaten Toyota vans

Pushing their weather beaten faces to wind screens

Checking the sea was keeping tidy.


We'd go, "Isn't it lovely weather we're having?"


And they'd say, "Aw sure look it."


And we'd point to the steaming kettle and ask,

“Will we wet the tea for you?”


"No thanks, don't be troubling yourself."


And Rosalyn would not hear of it,

"Ah go way outta that, of course ye will!"


And we'd all drink tea and shoot the breeze.


Louisburgh being pretty much closed

We found a shop

Open ...at a pinch.

Bought matches, cigars, and asked for a bar.


A man half as old as the elbow patched

Green barleycorn Donegal tweed

His grandfather wore and now his turn

Reeking of pipe tobacco

Asked for a tin of “Foggy Fox”

“On the slate”

Pointed to ‘Feeney's' across the street.

“You're d'em hippies off the beach?

I'll be open as soon as you get there.”


Rosalyn asked, “Do you stock the black stuff - Guinness?”


Yer man scratched his head,

“Guinness, you say? Not much call for that around here.”


And Rosalyn sniffed

She could be sniffy that way

And being from California

Immune to irony.


Our money dwindled as Feeney's filled.

With men.

All ages

In shades of threadbare tweed

And women too but hen's teeth rare.


The men? Bachelors,

Hoping to strike lucky

In Lisdoonvarna

Hiding baldness with rococo coifs

Defying gravity and the laws of physics


When Feeney spotted

Our famine of cash

He pulled two pints

And a couple more

“Slainted” with a wink

As we knocked them back.


A gentleman's' accord struck

Without a word.


Next day, truth told, still drunk

We headed out to Roonagh's Quay

To hop aboard the Clare Isle ferry.


I lit cigars and passed one over.


Feeling frisky

My hand rose a little higher

Rosalyn's thigh

Than it properly should

With her mind on driving and all


Rosalyn raised her eyebrow

But no objection

Smiled as shudders rippled her spine.


Smiling and shuddering

That's how I like to remember her


She aahed in mock pleasure

Then genuine terror

As the van lurched into a shuck.

And overturned.


Her two last words, “What the….?”


Telegraph poles are scarce

Beside the road from

Louisburgh to Roonagh's Quay

We missed them all

Bar one that mattered.


I crawled from the shatter

And as I struggled to open her door

Rosalyn's cigar

Ignited the fumes trapped inside.


I go back every August

On my way to Lisdoonvarna

And hang a wreath on the pole

That struck out our life together


And it's drinks at Feeney's

Sharing memories

Of the crazy Americano chick

Who blazed like a comet

That summer night


And Feeney pulls three pints

For himelf

And me and Rosalyn

Stands them on the bar


I offer the punts we chalked

To clear my ancient slate

He asks,“You'll be going down to Clare?”


And when I nod,

Yer man pats my arm,

Shakes his head

Winks and says,

“Next year… plenty soon enough”.


◄ "Mally"

"Donegal Eden" ►


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Rick Gammon

Sat 17th Sep 2016 07:20

These moments and memories linger. I'm hoping to win my new girlfriend around to a Spring return there - well a return for me. I 'did' Louisburgh and Clew Bay with 'Rosalyn' we then went on to Cruit Island, Donegal - I'll stick up a tanka about our time there 😃

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